No God Left?

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was interviewing former FBI agent Clint van Zandt about killers like the gunman in the Connecticut shooting. Listening to van Zandt explain that the gunman had shot his mother and then walked into the school to kill the children, Matthews shook his head and asserted, “There’s no god left in your life after that. There’s no limit to what you’ll do that’s evil.”

There's no god left in your life? Honestly, this is the worst kind of ideological thinking. It's so contradictory to what Chris Matthews loves to do: hammer people for spewing ideology that has no basis in fact. That is precisely what he did, and it greatly lessened the quality of his reporting and analysis.

Chris Matthews is softball, not hardball, when it comes to religious ideology.

Comments like Matthews’ represents a kind of religious proselytizing that appears so often on the major media. CNN’s Anderson Cooper, for instance, often talks about god and sends his prayers out to people he interviews.

The kind of remark Matthews made offends those of us who want "no spin" and certainly don't want religious dogma posing as truth and goodness, especially in light of the long history of killing in the name of religion.

Morality doesn’t originate in religion. It comes from nature. Other primates have moral behavior too. Religion just codifies what nature teaches us—we must live together.

Chris Matthews is one of my favorite political commentators. In the past year, he has struggled on the air to continues to make sense of the Catholic religion he inherited as a child. He often mentions his Catholic upbringing and sometimes identifies religious zealotry as problematic, even the poisonous venom that “Christians” like Michelle Bachman and Rick Santorum spew.

Now it’s time for Chris Matthews to step up and treat religious mythology and dogma for what it is—a set of ideas expressed in routine communication. Ideology.

C’mon, Chris. Let’s play Hardball.

© James Lull